BRAVE: Stretcher bearers of the 9th Field Ambulance Brigade. Often under shell fire, they would go out to bring in wounded men. Photo: The Digger’s View by Juan Mahony.Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter enlistment and death details for January 29 to February 4, 1917.
RIGOURS OF WINTERMr Philip Gibbs, the war correspondent, states that the hardest frost of the war exists at present in France and Flanders. The front consists of mud and quagmires, in which the men have been floundering for months in a half-frozen condition, with great chunks of ice in the shell craters. The cold has been so intense as to freeze the radiators of motor-cars, and staff officers are frequently held up on lonely roads remote from a telephone, their cars having side-slipped into snowdrifts. As a result marching men have for once bad the laugh of the motorists. While exalted staff officers, wrapped up like mummies, were as chilled as New Zealand mutton, the marching battalions were jolly in their shaggy coats. The men are sticking the cold as they stuck the wet. Those suffering from a touch of trench fever held on to their posts until they were sent back to their billets.
RECRUITING MEETINGSSenator Watson, and Mr M. Charlton, MHR, assisted by the recruiting staff and other speakers, held successful recruiting meetings at Swansea and Catherine Hill Bay on Saturday. A meeting was also to have been held at Belmont at 4pm, but owing to the unsuitableness of the hour, none of the residents put in an appearance. At Swansea the attendance numbered about 100, and the meeting was addressed by Senator Watson, Mr Charlton, Mr. Everton, and Staff-sergeant Major Clarke, of the recruiting staff. The meeting was enthusiastic throughout, and at the close two men offered for enlistment. At Catherine Hill Bay the prospects of a meeting being held were not too bright, owing to the miners holding their usual meeting and a picture show being held. However, arrangements were made for the recruiting meeting to be held between the two, and the arrangement answered admirably. As a result of the speakers’ efforts nine recruits came forward.
THE LATE PRIVATE LONERGANMrs A. Lonergan, of Devon-street, Plattsburg, is in receipt of a letter from Lieutenant H. B. Taylor, in which he refers to the death of her son, Private D. Lonergan, who was killed in the trenches near Fleurs, on the 11th November last. The writer states that the good humour of Private Lonergan was the soul of his platoon, which felt his death very keenly, and concludes by saying it was such men as he that had won for the fine name she had in that country. Another letter was received from Private R. Dowson, who mentions that a short time before he was killed Private Lonergan was suffering from a very bad cold, and the doctor wanted him to go into the hospital, but as one’s mates always were ready to “gig” one with being frightened, he said he would show them that he was not frightened. After referring to his death, the writer said he was unable to obtain any of his belongings, and mentions that over his grave a cross was erected, with the inscription, R.I.P., David Lonergan, upon it. Reference was also made to Private Lonergan’s regard for his mother, of whom he would often speak, and the writer asks Mrs. Lonergan to cheer up, for Dave died a good, brave soldier.
SOLDIERS’ LETTERSPrivate D.W. Humphreys and Driver G.W. Stone, writing from ‘Somewhere in England’ to Mr. J. Sperring, of Belmont, say: “You will see by the above address that Dave Humphreys and Bill Stone, who used to work for W. Strudwick, are in England together. We have just come out of hospital – got wounded in France – and we are now waiting to be sent back again. We thought we would just drop you a line to let you all know that we are both alive in the world, and still kicking. We will soon have had two years of it now, and we wish it was all over, so we could return to the little places called Swansea and Belmont. Those were happy days, no doubt, but all the same we have both done our little bit. You can please remember us to all the home folks, and give them our love.”
SHELL SHOCKPrivate T. W. Bedford, writing from France to his father, Mr. John Bedford, of Waratah, says: “Just a few lines to let you know that I returned to duty on the 11th of October, and I have quite recovered from the shell shock. I see by the letters that you were advised about me being wounded. One of Fritz’s shells came “whop” right above my head, on the parapet, and that is what gave me the shell shock (concussion). As I told you before, this happened before the big fight of 19th July, which you speak about in one of your letters; and which I missed being in, owing to the fact that I was in the hospital. At present we are out of the trenches in billets, having a well-earned rest, as we have just came off one of the busiest and roughest parts of the front. But bother talking about the war. I am forgetting to mention that I had a letter from Jimmie Hughes. He wants some Turkish bullets, but I have none. Well, I will have to close this letter now pretty abruptly. As it is, I don’t know whether it will catch the mail or not. The censor has been hurrying us up all day. But the main object in writing is just to let you know I am all right. I never had an opportunity of sending a cable. I would have done, but at the time was shell-shocked. I never thought of it.”
WORD OF NEWCASTLE MENLance-corporal G. F. Coleman, of Cook’s Hill, writes home to his parents: “I am still alive and going strong. The winter is setting in here now, and there is a pond just outside my door frozen up, so you can just imagine how I feel. It has just finished a month of rain, which has interfered with the British and French offensive. On our last stay in the trenches we were up to our waists in mud and water. The fogs made matters worse; we get them nearly every day and night. Those fogs make it awkward to carry on the offensive, because the aeroplanes and balloons cannot observe what the Germans are doing behind their lines, which gives us no targets to shoot at. Of course, I am speaking of the Somme River offensive, where the fiercest battles in the war have been fought. We were to have taken part in a charge early one morning, but owing to our weak condition, after being up to our waists in the mud and water for three days, the charge was cancelled. We only had hard biscuits and “bully” beef to eat, because it was impossible to get anything up to the trenches owing to the fog. In the night we were relieved by another battalion. I had to get up over the parapet and walk across the field of fire. I preferred it to walking through a couple of miles of trench with three feet of mud in it. I succeeded in my task, with bullets and shells flying all around me. Our battalion made a great name for itself at Pozieres. I met Bob Dunn, Wal Smith, L. Wilson, Harold Lahiff, Ned Hunt and a lot more Newcastle lads. They paid a great tribute to George Lucre and Ted Malcolm, whom they said died heroes.
ENLISTMENTSClaude Villiers Armbrister, Kurri Kurri; Percy Villiers Armbrister, Kurri Kurri; Sydney George Arms, Cooks Hill; Frederick Charles Burnett, Homeville; James Robert Burnett, West Maitland; Albert John Collett, Maitland; Charles Hobart Cox, Muswellbrook; Frederick William Dawson, Islington; George Frederick Gibson, Hamilton; Roderick Goodyer, West Maitland; Lewis Grant, Catherine Hill Bay; George Henry Greenwell, West Wallsend; Mark Hancock, West Maitland; Robert Herron, Hamilton; Arthur Kenneth Hill, Cessnock; Harold George Lane, East Maitland; George McCauley, Carrington; William Moses, Newcastle; Henry Robert O’Sullivan, Cooks Hill; Thomas Brown Scobie, West Maitland; Robert Shaw, Tighes Hill; John William Smith, Lambton; James Thompson, Carrington;Edward James Verney, Cooks Hill; Charles Roach Wallace, Edinglassie; Egbert Wilfred Wright, Merewether.
DEATHSPte William Albert Baldwin, Dungog; Pte Robert Donald, Cessnock; Pte Edward Francis Jackson, Catherine Hill Bay; Pte Cyril Andrew Johnson, Dungog; Pte Arthur Kentish, Lambton; Pte Alexander Main, Boolaroo; Pte James Milne, Newcastle; Bdr Frederick Walter Pendleton, East Maitland; Pte David James Quinlan, Newcastle; Pte Edgar Harold Sadler, Horseshoe Bend; Pte George Victor Stewart, Hamilton; Pte Harold John Taylor, Hamilton; 2nd Lieut Arthur Henry Vogan, Newcastle.
David Dial OAM is a Hunter-based military historian. facebook苏州夜总会招聘/HunterValleyMilitaryHistory